Shopify vs Squarespace: Which Is Better for Ecommerce?

When comparing Shopify and Squarespace, you need to clearly understand either you want to build a website or a digital store. Do you need a good web representation or a platform letting you sell products online.

In order to find out which site builder will work best for your business, first you need to define your current needs and whether you plan to grow your biz in the future, because despite the shared goal – to help you bring your business online – Shopify and Squarespace have different user markets, approaches and purposes.

Shopify – is an eCommerce platform designed specifically for launching web shops. The solution comes as a professional tool to create a solid marketplace as well as manage your sales and products. Shopify boasts great integration capabilities. It offers a variety of apps and services to handle purchases, promotions, marketing, etc.

Squarespace was initially created as an instrument to build content-oriented websites, not digital stores. When we say “websites”, we mean blogs, portfolios, business cards, etc. The system serves well to achieve those goals with a rich enough feature set. However, it looks not as professional in terms of eCommerce functionality that has been added relatively recently.

SPOILER: Shopify is better – read the Conclusion.

To figure out, which one is the best suit for your selling needs, we are going to enable in-depth Squarespace vs Shopify research to highlight some of the key factors and features brought to you by both platforms.

Shopify vs Squarespace: General Overview

Shopify vs Squarespace: General Overview

Shopify is a top notch eCommerce platform, which deserves special user attention due to its powerful web store creation focus, abundance of niche-specific features, widgets, extensions and designs. The only implication of the software is professional web store development, customization and promotion. It lets you start and run almost any type of a web store – from a small market and up to a huge digital marketplace with an amazing assortment of products offered for sale.

The foundation of the system dates back to 2004, when it was first introduced to the target audience. Since that time, Shopify has gained worldwide recognition, having introduced lots of advanced features and tools. Currently, the number of its subscribers has overcome 3,685,763 users and it keeps increasing with every passing month. Shopify has much to offer its users, unveiling a diversity of design customization and flexibility options that makes it possible to sell physical and digital products online.

Squarespace is a popular DIY website builder, which deserves the attention of users willing to start and manage quality and feature-laden web projects. The system is applicable for building blogs, portfolios, restaurant and cafe websites, business projects and it also works nice for running online stores. The integrated toolset of the service, however, does not let you build a large supermarket yet the website builder can be used to design small/medium online stores.

The system was founded in 2003 and it has soon developed into one of the most popular representatives of the web design market. As of today, the customer base of the platform has reached 4,195,519 subscribers and that’s not the final statistics. The amount of users, who join the platform, keeps increasing along with its popularity and diversity of features it keeps adding to its toolset.

Thus, Shopify and Squarespace are two well-known and feature-rich web design platforms. They differ in their integrated functionality and implication. While Shopify is a solely eCommerce software, Squarespace is the all-in-one platform that can also be used for web store development purposes. These distinctions should be taken into account when making your choice of the website builder.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Which One Is Easier to Use?

Shopify vs Squarespace: Which One Is Easier to Use?

Shopify made an effort to combine eCommerce functionality with the ease of use. Although its interface might seem to be a bit more complicated than in content-based site builders, it will not take more than a couple of hours to figure out how the system works.

We should keep in mind that the system was initially created as the solution to create online stores. On the other hand, it still has a drag-and-drop feature to edit pages in addition to a simple content editor. Moreover, technical geeks and coders can access the platform’s CSS or work with its custom Liquid coding language. It ensures better flexibility and customization opportunities.

shopify editor

Users should not worry about Shopify complexity. They will get a ready-to-use digital store structure instead of building each section step by step. All you need is to modify the already existing sections or pieces while the core of your future shop is already working. Shopify has a simple dashboard letting you work with the content. Just choose the page you need to edit. The process is similar to working with MS Word or Google Docs. You will hardly find it difficult. Additional dashboard settings include instruments to add logos, change default colors and fonts, show or hide elements, etc.

Shopify has a diverse customer support available through several channels. To get started, you will be offered interactive tutorials and guides that highlight all key steps of building a website from scratch. Moreover, customers can create their own threads on Shopify forum and discuss the issue with other Shopify users. If that is not enough, you can opt for other channels to get in touch with the support team via Live Chat or Phone.

Squarespace might look a bit easier from the start. In the whole, it has a practically similar interface with the dashboard with all editing tools on the left and areas you need to edit on the right. The key difference is that Squarespace is a 100% WYSIWYG website builder with a fully-integrated drag-and-drop editor. This means that you can remove and re-order on-page sections and elements easily.

Squarespace Editor

On the other hand, some problems might appear when you try to drag-and-drop images. Just hovering the mouse to the interface screen is not enough. The only way to upload media content is to access the platform’s Style Editor. It provides tools to customize different elements. Users can resize blocks, place them wherever you need as well as choose form ready-to-use page styles and structures. The editor has pre-built coverage for different page types including Landing Pages, Blogs, Galleries, Event or Index Pages, etc. Simply choose the type you need and add relevant content. All-in-all, Squarespace is intuitive and easy for everyone as it does not require any coding proficiency.

Squarespace is also a good platform in terms of customer support. It has a ticketing system to resolve issues via email. Tutorial Resources contain multiple materials including video guides, articles and blog posts that can be pretty useful. Additional ways to contact the support team include 24/7 Live Chat.

As to the ease of use, both platforms are pretty simple though users may come across slight difficulties when using the interface. However, Shopify provides a wider array of custom editing solutions to build and manage an online store.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Design and Flexibility

Shopify vs Squarespace: Design and Flexibility

Shopfify and Squarespace both come with powerful integrated web design functionality. The thing is that the platforms have different implications, which has its impact upon the feature sets they offer. To define the system, which works best for your individual project, it is crucial to figure out what exactly each of them has in stock. A more detailed overview and comparison of both services will help you with that.

eCommerce

Shopify is an eCommerce-oriented platform with a more extensive set of features in terms of creating an online store. It offers plenty of handy tools not only to manage your sales and products but also to enable fast payment process, effective marketing strategies, product promotions, and more. The system makes it easy to add new products, manage item groups, etc. Users can benefit from a ready-to-use product catalogue module. All you need is to add product images, description and prices. Moreover, you can create your own product categories. Automated EU VAT calculation will certainly be a huge plus to save time and meet VAT MOSS requirements.

Shopify Add a Product

As the eCommerce software, Shopify allows for effective external trading, letting you generate revenues not only through the website. The company introduced its high end POS (Point Of Sale) system for physically located stores. At the same time, it makes it easy to turn your Facebook page into an online trading platform without actually building a website.

Shopify AR feature lets customers benefit from the realist and real-life product viewing experience. Enabled by the 3D Warehouse application, the AR-based technology delivers a true sense of item’s size, color, quality or other crucial characteristics. Each product is available as the 3D model.

The system also makes use of advanced reporting and analytic tools to let you keep an eye on the most crucial sale parameters, trading statistics and other web store-related factors. The system defines the most successful traffic and revenue channels. We should also mention promotion and reward features that can increase your customers’ loyalty.

Squarespace is a more content-based website builder. It means that it boasts a range of features to create a solid portfolio or blog but not a digital store though it still has a set of eCommerce capabilities. Thus, the platform makes it possible to integrate a shopping cart, set up payment, shipping and tax parameters, connect SSL Certificate to your digital store to ensure maximum safety and protection from third-party access. Mind that payment options look very limited if compared to Shopify. The system uses only Stripe to process payments made through MasterCard or Visa.

Squarespace edit product

The eCommerce functionality of the website builder makes it possible to create clickable item images that will transfer users to a product page that may contain videos, prices, photos or any other vital information. The system lets users add up to 100 items. Squarespace offers some promotional opportunities in the face of promo codes, vouchers, discounts, etc. There is also an opportunity to track your web store statistics by means of Google Analytics integration. This lets you control your web store performance to make sure it functions welland to be able to modify the required parameters in case of necessity.

Squarespace allows transferring already existing web stores from several popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCartel, for example. You will be able to import the products available in stock to keep managing them with the platform.

To sum it up, Shopify looks obviously like a better option for eCommerce projects. The feature rich platform is more flexible in terms of product management, payment options or integrations. Squarespace is still a content-based website builder with some slight selling options that are not enough for a major online shop with further extension.

Blogging

Shopify has quite a powerful blogging engine, making blog creation simple, fast and convenient for everyone. This does not require any preliminary web design expertise or coding awareness – the process is intuitive and understandable even for newbies. By connecting a blog to your digital store, you will be able to stay in touch with your current and potential customers. The feature lets you add and edit blog posts, create lookbooks, integrate media files, connect with social network accounts, categorize posts into niche sections, make use of the Future Publishing option to schedule article publications. Adjusting SEO parameters is also possible here, which adds to your blog/web store promotion.

Shopify Blog Post

Squarespace also has a feature-rich blogging platform available by default. This provides an opportunity to set up a blog and to further manage it as you need. You can get access to standard blogging features here, such as article publication/scheduling, blog/post URL customization, GEO tag set up, SEO settings adjustment and more. The website builder also lets you connect Google Analytics to check your blog performance, if required.

Squarespace Blog Settings

An important option is availability of the commenting feature, which allows users leave their ideas and thoughts under each post to share their expertise or points of view regarding the topic of the article. By the way, if you already own a blog created with WordPress, Blogger, Posterous or Tumblr or any other blogging platform, you can transfer it to Squarespace when required.

As to blogging, both platforms provide this opportunity. They make it possible to start and manage feature-laden blogs to drive user attention. Shopify, however, offers a more distinctive integrated functionality geared towards eCommerce objectives. Squarespace somewhat lets eCommerce focus yet it still allows connecting a quality blog to your website.

Integration Options

Shopify has its own eCommerce App Store with a range of add-ons and widgets for your future online store. The selection of apps includes solutions for analyzing, reporting, payment processing, loyalty programs, social media marketing, etc. Apart from this, the software can integrate with a range of third-party services. A good solution for those who crave for extended website functionality thanks to Zoho, Zendesk, QuickBooks or other integration opportunities. Integration with world-popular marketplaces and trading platforms like Amazon is available here as well. This increases the chances for boosting your web store positions and brand recognition.

Squarespace has less to offer in terms of integrations mainly because of the absence of the App Market. However, there are still several powerful widgets and add-ons to boost your project functionality. The system offers useful eCommerce extensions for eating out venues (cafes and restaurants), opportunity to integrate contact forms and social media buttons, Google Maps. By the way, you do not have to install analytic tools to track the website stats. Squarespace comes with an in-built Metrics App. Another option is to integrate Google Analytics. Some of the system highlights include the Acuity Scheduling Platform, which works great for effective business management, and the Unfold App – a free storytelling tool, which lets you publish appealing posts in social networks.

When it comes to integrations, Shopify definitely goes first. Due to its integrated App Market and powerful synchronization options, the software ensures outstanding web store functionality. Squarespace also offers useful widgets and add-ons, but they are quite baseline and do not have a serious impact upon web store performance.

Template Editing

Shopify lets you build professionally looking web shops using its free and paid templates (see real Shopify examples). The selection of free themes is pretty limited. On the other hand, they still look rather pleasant and user-friendly. The collection includes about 9 free templates that might not look enough for demanding users. This is where CSS/HTML access may come in handy whenever you need to implement a unique website style. However, only technicians will handle the editing process.

Shopify templates

As for paid templates, the selection includes a bit more than 64 themes that look very professional and trendy. They are divided into categories to meet different types of stores regarding their sizes. By the way, all of them are mobile-friendly. The only problem is that you will have to add about $140-$180 to your budget, which might be a fortune for a single template.

The good news is that Shopify lets you switch the templates on any stage of the web development process without losing previously-submitted content. Newbies will certainly appreciate this feature as they can make mistakes on the initial stages of the template section process.

Squarespace templates look gorgeous. They are professionally designed (see examples). The collection of themes consists of 105+ variants although most of them mainly refer to content-based sites such as portfolios and blogs. eCommerce themes, however, are available here as well. The system offers CSS and HTML editing opportunities through its Developer Platform. However, it is available only with the Premium Plan.

Squarespace template

The system’s check out page editor might work well whenever you need to take customers to another template or product page. Cover Page Builder will also come in handy to create catchy landing pages with stunning images and other types of content. Users can choose from up to 29 ready-to-use cover page layouts available for customization. A high end Style Editor contributes to the development of unique and personalized website design, providing the opportunity to modify web page backgrounds, fonts, styles, elements, color palettes and other elements with regard to your project needs and personal objectives.

Speaking about design customization, Shopify and Squarespace both have much to offer. Squarespace template collection looks professional, while all the themes are free for everyone. Shopify selection of free designs is less extensive yet all the templates feature high quality and customizability. Paid designs are a bit pricey for an ordinary user, but CSS/HTML access can be a good solution to the problem.

Shopify vs Squarespace: General Pricing

Shopify vs Squarespace: General Pricing

Shopify offers a free 14-day trial and four premium subscriptions depending on your future digital store size. You can choose the most suitable variant to launch a small online shop on Facebook using Lite plan for only $9 per month or benefit from extended eCommerce features delivered by the Advanced Shopify plan costing $299 per month. Have a look at the detailed plan overview now:

  • Shopify Lite ($9/mo) – unlimited product amount, 70+ payment gateways, sales tracking and “Buy” Button, global tax and currency support settings etc.;
  • Basic Shopify ($29/mo) – free SSL Certificate connection, website and blog integration, complete web store customization, powerful integrated CRM etc.;
  • Shopify ($79/mo) – professional reporting option, gift cards etc.;
  • Advanced Shopify ($299/mo) – advanced report builder, real-time carrier shipping etc.

Features listed in the plans work great for all types of online stores. These include micro-startups, small business projects, local shops and global marketplaces. Mind that Shopify offers the refund policy that is viable during 14 days after you buy the required plan. What’s more, the software charges commission fees for the transactions made with the system. The fees range from 0.5% and up to 2% depending upon the terms of the subscription you go for. The more advanced plan you pick, the lower the fees will be.

Squarespace also has a free trial that lasts for 14 days and four premium packages for users looking for advanced options/tools. Upon the end of the trial version, you will be able to pick one of the paid subscriptions. These include:

  • Personal ($12/mo billed annually) – 2 contributors, unlimited bandwidth and storage, SSL Security, integrated website metrics, 24/7 customer support, free custom domain, SEO features etc.;
  • Business ($18/mo billed annually) – unlimited contributors, 3% transaction fees, advanced website analytics, CSS/JavaScript design customization, premium blocks and integrations, fully-integrated eCommerce, professional email from Google, etc.;
  • Basic Commerce ($26/mo billed annually) – customer accounts, domain checkout feature, powerful eCommerce analytics, Instagram synchronization etc.;
  • Advanced Commerce ($40/mo billed annually) – APIs for order and inventory, gift cards, abandoned shopping cart recovery, advanced shipping and discounts, limited availability labels etc.

If you have an intention to start a web store with Squarespace, it makes sense to upgrade either to Basic Commerce or Advanced Commerce plans. They provide more features a web store should possess to gain user attention.

When it tackles the pricing aspect, Shopify charges higher fees for its plans as compared to Squarespace. At the same time, though, the entire functionality of the system is geared towards professional web store development and customization. Thus, the cost of Shopify plans absolutely adheres to user/niche requirements as well as to the terms provided. What’s more, the subscriptions meet diverse user requirements, which makes them more flexible if compared to Squarespace plans.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Which One Is the Best for SEO?

Shopify vs Squarespace: Which One Is the Best for SEO?

Shopify excels at SEO functionality, which makes web stores the system powers well-optimized for the search engines. There is an opportunity to independently set up parameters for effective SEO optimization. These include meta tags (titles, descriptions, keywords), Alt tags for images etc. The software automatically generates your web store sitemap right after you set it up. You can also integrate analytics/stats tracking tools to control your project performance.

Shopify SEO Preferences

Squarespace is a SEO-friendly website builder as well. It has a separate section, where you can fill out the boxes that are a must for quality website optimization. These include baseline meta tags (titles, descriptions, keywords). The system also lets you hide a website from indexing by the search engines until it is completely ready for publication. This is a notable factor that affects your project positions in the search engine results.

Squarespace SEO Settings

From the point of view of Search Engine Optimization, Shopify and Squarespace rank quite high. Both systems make it possible to set up website SEO parameters and watch the statistics. Shopify, though, grants more SEO options as it lets you effectively promote even large-scale eCommerce projects on the web.

Key Differences Between Shopify and Squarespace

ShopifySquarespace
Ease of Use:Shopify is a powerful eCommerce software, which is rightfully recognized as the best system in its niche. It has an intuitive dashboard and integrated drag-and-drop editor, which helps reach quality results with minimum time/effort investment.Squarespace is a popular DIY drag-and-drop website builder. It allows starting different types of web projects, including online stores. The system does not require coding skills, which matters a lot for newbies.
Functionality:Niche specialization of the system mainly goes down to online store development/promotion. The platform delivers access to numerous eCommerce-specific features and tools. They are used for effective product and web store management, sales/projects/clients tracking and worthy design customization.The system has a simple WYSIWYG editor, integrated blogging and eCommerce engines, useful social integrations, Logo Maker and other tools, which may contribute to your web store promotion. When running a project, you can use Google Maps embedding feature, Unfold App, stats tracking tools, Acuity Scheduling Platform and other powerful features.
Design:The template collection of the system is not quite extensive yet all the themes have a professional look. You can choose from 9 free templates and around 64 paid themes, all of which are responsive and fully-customizable.Squarespace offers an impressive collection of free, customizable, responsive and industry-specific templates. You can access powerful design customization tools, Logo Maker, Image and Style Editors and other elements that let you design truly unique and personalized websites.
eCommerce:Shopify is a powerful and globally-known eCommerce software. It abounds in niche-specific features and tools that help run all kinds of digital stores, including large hypermarkets.Squarespace comes with an integrated eCommerce platform. It lets you build and customize small/mid-size online stores to offer services/products for sale.
Blogging:The service has a worthy blogging platform. It allows connecting and managing a feature-rich blog to enhance user engagement rate and to make clients aware of industry news and updates.The website builder lets you connect a blog to your website and manage it, using the integrated functionality of the system. You can adjust special blog settings here, enable commenting feature, schedule upcoming publications etc.
Small Business:Shopify is a nice option for small business website development granted that these projects are created with eCommerce focus in mind.Squarespace is a nice solution for small business website start up. It lets you integrate numerous business widgets and media files, while its advanced Acuity Scheduling Platform along with useful stats tracking tools contribute to quality result.
Pricing:The software offers a 14-day free trial and 4 premium plans to choose from. Their cost starts from $9/mo.The website builder has a free 14-day trial and 4 paid subscriptions. Their cost starts from $12/mo.
SEO:Shopify is a SEO-friendly platform. It allows for effective web store optimization by means of filling out special parameters and using analytic/statistics tracking tools.Squarespace is good at SEO. Along with the opportunity to fill out baseline SEO settings for effective website promotion, it also lets you hide your website (or its pages) from indexing by the search engines.
Customer Support:Shopify Help Center, eCommerce University, Informative Forum24/7 Live Chat, Email Support, FAQ section, Ticketing System, Community Forum

Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?

When it comes to eCommerce website development, you need to be 100% sure you get all necessary tools to handle the store management process delivering enhanced buying experience to your users. The more large-scale project you intend to run, the more powerful eCommerce software you will require. This is where Shopify undeniably holds leading positions.

As a specialized platform, Shopify comes with plenty of integration opportunities, its own app store, free and paid templates, great customization capabilities, blogging platform etc. What’s more important, it delivers a comprehensive editor, great promotion and marketing tools to grow business in addition to analytics and reporting functionality.

Being the all-in-one website builder, Squarespace definitely lags behind Shopify in terms of eCommerce. This is more a content-based website builder with only some extra eCommerce features. It can be good to display products or services but that’s definitely not enough to create a powerful online marketplace.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Which Is Better for Ecommerce?
     5.0
  • Global eCommerce software
  • Powerful eCommerce functionality
  • Blogging, integration and marketing options
  • Moderate pricing
Shopify vs Squarespace: Which Is Better for Ecommerce?
     4.0
  • All-in-one cloud website builder
  • Acuity Scheduling and Unfold App
  • Blogging and eCommerce included
  • Affordable pricing options
Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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